Friends & Fiction
Friends & Fiction

Episode · 1 year ago

S1E12: Kristin Harmel with Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb; with Christina Lauren

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Kristin Harmel chats with the writing team of Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb and the writing team Christina Lauren about writing as a team and collaboration.

Welcome to Friends and Fiction. Five best selling authors and the stories novelist mary Kay andrews. Kristen Harmel, Christie Woodson, harvey patty Callahan, Henry and mary Alice Munro are five longtime friends With more than 80 published books to their credit In 2020 they created friends and fiction to provide author interviews and fascinating insider, talk about publishing and writing and to highlight independent bookstores. These friends discuss the books, they have written the books they're reading now and the art of storytelling. If you love books and you're curious about the writing world, you're in the right place. Okay France and fiction is sponsored by Mama Geraldine's bodacious Foods, the company that makes Mama Geraldine's cheese straws which come in six varieties and are the best selling cheese straws in the United States. Founded by former radio executive Cathy Cunningham and named for her mother. They have melt in your mouth cookies to delicious treats and a woman owned empire. Now that is something that Friends and fiction can really get behind try them, you'll be so glad you did get 20% off on your online order at Mama Geraldine's dot com with the code. Fab five snack on y'all We are so excited to tell you about a podcast. That's just the thing for book lovers and book clubbers. It's called the Book Club Girl podcast, co host Eliza and to via her Book Club of Two and every other week they chat about a book that is perfect for your reading group and then they have the author on the show to discuss their work. What really sets this podcast apart is that most of the questions for their guests come from the podcast listeners. Each episode is an easy breezy half hour long and includes an exclusive excerpt from one of the authors, audiobooks, they have interviewed writers like Kate, Quinn, Beatrice Williams, Gregory, Maguire Talia Hibbert, upcoming guests include Karin Slaughter and Neil Gaiman. Subscribe to the Book Club Girl podcast from wherever you download your podcasts and never miss an episode. Welcome to the Friends and fiction podcast. I'm Christine Harmel and today we're talking about writing a book with a friend were fortunate enough to have not one but two incredible bestselling writing duos with us today, Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb who began their careers as solo writers before deciding to team up occasionally and Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings who have since the beginning of their careers written together under the pen name Christina Lauren, I adore their books, I adore all four of these talented women and I know you will too, we'll be talking to them today about why they write together, how they write together and how they make it all work, especially since none of them live in the same place. So we'll start today with hazel gainer and heather. Web hazel is the new york Times Usa Today, irish Times, an international best selling author of the girl who came home, the Lighthouse keeper's daughter and most recently when we were young and brave Heather is the USA Today, an international bestselling, award winning author of becoming josephine, the phantoms apprentice and the upcoming the Next Ship Home Together. They have co written three books, Last christmas in paris, meet me in Monaco and the upcoming three words for Good...

By coming july 27th Welcome, hazel and heather. Hi, thanks for having us. Thank you Kristen, lovely to be here. Thank you so much for being here. It's so nice to hear your voices and be with you today. I'm uh I'm missing just seeing everybody in person and giving you both a big hug. But we'll save that. We'll save that for post pandemic. So first of all I would love to talk a little bit about three words for goodbye. Because it was a book I got an early read of a book I loved and it was such a beautiful book. Can you begin briefly by telling our listeners a little bit about it, hazel, Do you want to start sure? And thank you so much. You were one of our first readers. So your response to the book was so much appreciated. You know that that moment when you let the book out into the world and real people apart from your dear family, start to read it. So yeah, three words for Goodbye is um it's a sister story. It tells the story of two young women who are feuding when we meet them and they are asked by their grandmother to go on a journey to europe in order to tie up some loose ends from her life and from a trip she took to europe decades earlier, inspired by very last reply and our two gorgeous girls, Madeline and Clara set off with letters in their pockets, take some very fabulous forms of transport along the way and we follow them on a journey really through discovering themselves, discovering the cities they arrive in paris venice and Vienna. And it's a story about discovering who we are, our place in family as a whole. Families have secrets along the way. Um and it was just such a gorgeous book to write, particularly because we found ourselves writing it when we couldn't go anywhere when we were both in lockdown. So, to travel virtually on the page with Clara and Madeline and their grandmother, Violet was just an absolute joy and really an unexpected highlight I suppose in some ways, a very difficult phase in all of our lives. Yeah. You know, I think that's one of the things I liked so much about reading it to the idea that I could be sitting in my home, you know, feeling a little stir crazy because we all feel a little stir crazy right now right? But getting to travel with your characters to these beautiful places and to travel back in time, but you're right, it was such a great exploration of who we are also. It was such a good book and I can't wait for everyone else to get to read it. So, you know, since we're talking today about writing duos, I would love to dig in a little bit to the way you both work. So unlike Christina and Lauren who have written together since the beginning of their careers, you to both started off your own successful novel writing careers and then joined forces, but you still write separately to heather. Do you want to start by telling me a little bit about how the two of you met? Well we both had debuts come out around the same time actually and we share an agent. So Michelle actually reached out to me and said you really should contact hazel gainer. She's english, she lives in Ireland with her family but you know, she's breaking into the american market and so are you and I think you two would get along great. And I reached out to hazel and it was, it was kind of instant magic. I hate to say it that way because that seems cheesy, but we really did like each other right off the bat. And not long after that I had to maybe a year and a half. I was working on an anthology, putting together an anthology with nine authors total. And I had floated the idea to hazel and she was all about it. And that was called Fall of Poppies and...

Set during World War One. And from there actually, she reached out to me after that and said, what if we did another one set during christmas time and then we decided maybe we should just try doing a novel together instead of doing an anthology. I mean, just for sales purposes and for just to simplify things. Um, working with nine authors is very fun, but it's also a lot of contracts and a lot of agents and a lot of authors and lots of scheduling. Um, so we found that it might be a better option to go at it together. And uh, we kind of fell into it instantly. It was it was great fun to work on that first book together, So that's wonderful. Well, what a cool natural way for this to all come about novel, but I love that. So I'm curious specifically about how your process works. Can you tell me a little bit about how you come up with a story idea together and kind of how you get the ball rolling, How is it at the beginning? And I don't know if you want to start by talking about that first novel you wrote or whether you want to kind of give me the answer in the context of three words for goodbye, but I just love to hear how it works hazel. Do you want to take a stab at that? Sure, well, as heather said, I mean, this was really a relationship that came from having an agent together. And then I guess once once we hooked up, there was no getting away from each other. You know, Heather approached me about Hall of Poppies. I approached her then about writing something together. And really, I think the beauty of working with another author is when it works, it works. And I really believe it's something you can't force. Um and we both came into this really quite naively, you know, we had never co written with anybody and any author will know how precious your words are and how valuable your time. And to put half of that book in the hands of someone else's an enormous, you know, active trust, really. So, having worked together on Fall of Poppies I think was almost our little apprenticeship heather, wasn't it was like, oh, I kind of yeah, I like working with her, I like her style. and I think, you know, you don't necessarily have to be the best of friends. I think sometimes friends think we could write books together and it could turn out to be disastrous. I think we came into this from a professional point of view and have become dear friends through that, which is just a wonderful turn of events really. So ideas initially, the idea for last christmas in paris came out of Fall of Poppies, because we had touched on the very end of the First World War in that anthology. And we both felt there was so much more to this event that spanned four years and we had only touched on a little bit. And as all historical novelists do, we had enormous amounts of research that we just wanted to use elsewhere. Um and the idea of writing a story set through the four years of the war told in letters. So the book is told purely in letters exchanged between tom and be a guy at the front in France and even a young lady at home in England. And that idea really came from a very frenzied messaging back and forth on facebook and you know, one of those sort of fabulous moments where you're just bouncing ideas off each other and it crystallizes really quickly. And I think that was that really gave us, I think, didn't whether the conference we were definitely on the same page, you know, if we've been sort of grappling with, well, I want to do this and I think this, there would have been a sign they're saying, whoa, maybe this isn't the beautiful thing that you'd like it to be, It just felt very organic, very natural. And having had such a great experience with that book. Um We then came to to write Meet Me In Monaco, which again, came quite organically, quite naturally having...

...written about war. Um at christmas time, the kind of complete opposite of that is the glamour of fifties, french Riviera and a princess marrying a prince. So, you know, we're having fun. And it was whilst we were in Monaco which was obviously a terrible turn of events, we had to go to Monaco together, We were sitting on a terrace having a drink one evening and started to brainstorm, what are we going to do next? And that's when we came to the idea of firstly nellie Bly, who was just again, this incredible woman from history. Um her journalistic endeavors, but not just that this incredible journey she took around the world, you know, doing the 80 days around the world, but actually did it faster. Of course she did. She is a woman. Um So we wanted to use an L. E. As a jumping off point for a novel about traveling around the world and developing relationships within a family and within yourself. So we've heard three very different processes of ideas, haven't we? But all equally um fun in their own way. Well, I like this so much. I'm ready to ask you to add a third. I feel like I'd be so compatible with the two of you. We all go to Monica together anyway, just a minute, you know? So so so to, you know, I'm interested in um in exactly how you do this. I love hearing the evolution of it, but I'm curious maybe it's from a writer's perspective, But do you start with an outline? Do you take different characters and each right, the chapters, Can you talk me through a little bit of the nitty gritty about what goes on behind the scenes heather? Do you want to tackle that? Yeah, sure. So we started with you know the idea, the premise, wrote a pitch a short pitch and then we extrapolated by writing a synopsis And it's probably 4-6 pages or so for each of the books. Um that way we both have an idea of where the book is going and then we talk about the characters like what do these characters, you know, what are their goals, what do they look like? You know, where do we want them to start? How do we want them to end up? Um And then you know there's a lot of discovery through the actual writing itself, so the books changed quite a bit over the course of and the characters over the course of the actual writing process, especially with three words for good by that one was a little bit more challenging than some of the others because you have three countries, two sisters, they each have their own arc, they have their own love interests. You've got three modes of transportation that are famous, all set to the backdrop of World War Two are the beginnings of World War Two actually say the very early rumblings. So, uh, it was a lot, it was a lot to parse out, but, but you know, um, once we start to write, we actually opened up a google doc uh, for people who aren't familiar with google docs, it allows more than one person to work on the same software at the same time. Um, and we take turns writing chapters will choose a character. And um, and that's always been great to, you know, we sort of talked through who do you want to be? Oh maybe I'll try this one and we swap off um I was the boy in the first book, She was the boy the second book. That's cool. And then our third novel that, you know, you have sisters. So, um and then there's also the grandmother's voice that comes in and out a bit, that's a framing device. So, so we make these decisions up front and then as we go through, um we try to really preserve their voices by keeping the initial drafting, sort of separate. And then um as we edit, you know, we both comb through all the pages together and we leave comments in the margins and it goes to our email and stuff like that, so that we, you know, we're really on top of the process together the whole time. So, um and what's amazing Hayes...

...and I have talked about this before and we're always, it never ceases to amaze either one of us that as soon as we are having one of us is having this feeling that something isn't working, it's almost simultaneous that we'd get this feeling so I'll ping her and say I'm not loving where this is going and she'll say, I was just gonna say blah blah blah blah and then we get on the phone and we hash out, you know, what needs to be tweaked and um shaped and all that stuff. So there's kind of a kind of joke that there is a shared brain almost, you know, you've worked with somebody for three books, you start to know sort of what their patterns are, what your own patterns are and how they mesh and I think that's a really cool thing, So yeah. Oh, it absolutely is. That's really interesting. Has it been an obstacle to you too that you live in such completely different places? Heather? I think you're in New England, right? Is that correct? And I know hazel, you're in Ireland. Um so you know, it's not even the kind of thing that, yeah, you live in different states, but you can hop in your car and visit. I mean there are more obstacles. I know, I know has that been problematic or with all of the ways we can connect these days is really just sort of a non issue. Yeah. And, and, and actually I think, you know, sometimes it's worked to our advantage actually because we were in different time zones. So what we found works really well is I'm five hours ahead, so I'll be up and I'll have started my working day, although heather gets up really early, so she chases my tail. I'm like, I'm not ready yet, Go back to bed. Um I I'll be, you know, working away on on my part of the novel or my character. Um and then, because also, what what's to be factored in here when we've been co writing a novel, we've each at the same time been working on a solo novel of our own. So we've had to juggle not just dealing with two people writing one book. We've each at the same time been writing another. We really like to make things difficult for ourselves. Using the time difference is actually given us a sort of start and end point to the working day for writing our co written a book and you know, I think we are blessed obviously now with so much technology, we have had google docs, we've got hangouts, we've got zoom that we've all discovered in the last year, which has been really amazing. And actually, I think surprised we haven't used this technology um, through the last couple of books and now we have, we can, we can see each other as well as type messages to each other. So yes, obviously something you would love to jump in the car and meet for a coffee. You know, you can't be looking someone square in space, can you? But we've been able to get around it and, you know, people have questioned how on earth do you even begin to write a book with somebody else, let alone be in a totally different continent? Um, but it's it's possible, you know, and I think anything is possible, isn't it? If you really want to make it work, you'll find a way around the obstacles. Um and we've we've managed to do that. So yeah, it really hasn't been a hindrance really. Yeah, I suppose you can always meet in Monaco, right? Why hop in your car when you go to Monaco together? This is the thing is that we do have a plan. So if we can't actually see each other, we have to go somewhere completely romantic and lovely. Sounds like a solid plan to me. So, ladies, my last question is this how do you think that working together has shaped you individually as writers? Because as you mentioned, hazel, I know you're both you know, working on your own solo projects and doing your own things to do. You think you've grown in your solo...

...projects through your work together? I definitely think so, yeah, I have learned an awful lot from heather. I've, you know, I think you learn to step back from your work a little bit because you have to to let the other person in when you're co writing and you you don't stop doing that. Then when you're, when you're working on your own material, you sort of have that other voice on your shoulder. And I often imagine heather standing there going, really, would she really do that? Are you sure? Um so, I mean as any creative person, I think you just want to surround yourself, don't you, with other creative people, and we're endlessly fascinated with how everybody else does it. And as co writers, we get to see that day in day out and it's just all amazing to be able to then apply that to your own work. So I've learned a huge amount from heather and she maybe doesn't realize how much I've learned from her and from writing, but that sounds that's great. There you go, because I feel exactly the same way I hazel is, is so um talented, she's gifted at bringing forth this bittersweet emotion and in a character and I've learned a lot about doing it myself by working with her on these pieces. Um I think, you know, we both bring a different strengths to the table or several and you combine them and I think this is why readers love our book so much because they're getting they're getting sort of a double a double whammy in a good way, right? Um but but yeah, so I I've learned a tremendous amount myself, I feel like I'm a much better writer. I know that both of our platforms have really benefited from working together, people really seem to love to see us together and doing stuff and that's been really, really fun. Um Yeah, we're we are, yeah. And I think to, you know, this whole we don't live near each other and it's hard to meet up, but when we do and we take all these pictures and we're posting things, we've got a slew of people following us and following our photos and heather and has all together including our agent, which is so funny, she will, you know, retweet stuff and and make little Cute comments about us being together and um so that it's been a lot of fun and you know people I think a lot of the asked the question, so what do you do if you disagree on something? And I think people they really want to hear what sort of crazy arguments have and demand that something happens in chapter five and we're very boring because we don't have we don't have we don't have big blow up arguments. Um so I think it's, you know, long may at last and I think as I said at the beginning, if it, if it works, it works. And I don't think you can force it. I think this has to be something that comes from a place of creativity and then becomes a meeting of the minds in lots of ways as well. So um, argument yet to happen. Yeah, I mean in so many ways we almost didn't choose it. It feels a little bit like it found us. I mean it could have been a disaster working together. Um our agent kept sort of checking in with us separately. Was it okay working with hazel? Is it okay working with other were like, yeah, I know it's been great, you know, because she just wants to protect us, right? So, um but it's it's been great, it's been great. A lot of fun. Well speaking of great and a lot of fun, thank you both for being here with us today. And hazel as you said, Long May at last, I hope you have many, many more books ahead of you together, so be sure to pick up three words for goodbye out this july and thanks again, hazel and heather, Thank you so much. Thank you Kristen. Now we're turning the floor over to another incredible writing duo, Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings who together form Christina...

Lauren, the combined pen name of these longtime best friends and co authors, they are the number one international and new york times, bestselling authors of the enormously popular beautiful and wild season series, as well as standalone books such as dating you, hating you. Roomies twice in a blue Moon, the Ian honeymooners and my personal favorite autobiography, which was a really knockout y a novel. I loved it. Their latest book, the Soulmate equation is out this month and it explores a fascinating premise, which I'll let Kristina and Lauren tell you about themselves in just a minute, but for now, welcome Christina and Lauren, Hi, thank you for having us, I'm so happy to have you. So ladies, I know that Lauren has a PhD in neuroscience, and Christina was a junior high school counselor. So I would love to start with asking you, how did you two women from such different careers, meat and how did you start writing together? I know it's been well over a decade now, It has like 12 years. Um so we were both writing, yeah, we had full time jobs, this is Lauren speaking by the way, we both had full time jobs and little kids. And um we started writing fan fiction just for fun. We both had ideas for stories, we kind of didn't know what to do with them. So we were writing Stories online and sharing them and that's how we met and I organized a panel um in 2009 at San Diego comic con in the summer and Christina had a really popular online story at the time, so I invited her out and that's when we met in person and we started writing together. And it's just been amazing since. Well it has been amazing since you two have had such an incredible career Christina. How did you go from that, that meeting and connecting to actually writing and selling a first book together? Um It's it's funny because at the time it just felt completely like this is just what you do, but looking back we go, well, that was that was like a really strange thing to meet somebody on a weekend and just like each other so much that you just go, hey, do you want to write something together? So we wrote a short story together, like a fan fiction one shot together, and that was so much fun that we just said, let's write a book. And so we started writing this really serious, it's kind of depressing book and we were like, what are we doing? We thought since we were going to be real writers, we should be, you know, really serious. And um as soon as we started writing something about skinny dipping and kissing and it's like, did you really just putting up the shoe, we realize this is this is what we're supposed to be doing. It just never occurred to us that this was strange and not something people do. I think because In fandom everything is so collaborative, it just felt like completely normal. So we we um started writing this skinny dipping book and we eventually got an agent and eventually sold a book. And here we are, 20 something books later, That is incredible. Gosh, I'm so glad you found your right into this and that you found the right path for you. You know, I mean, imagine if you had just gotten stuck on that wrong kind of writing, I think you never would have found your collective voice and moved forward, but you found exactly the right way. I mean, for every author, I think they're serendipity in the path, right? So yeah, ours was probably, you know, we could we could pinpoint each of the beats of serendipity in our path to where we are. But for sure one of them was knowing that we were not meant to be writing serious, deep literary fiction. It's so funny. All right. Well, speaking of serious, deep literary fiction, no, I know this is can we talk about the soul mate equation? I'm so excited to talk about it and it's new this week and I I love the concept and the idea behind it.

And I know how well the two of you have executed it because you were Christina and Lauren and everything you touch turns to magic. So can you tell us a little bit about this, this little made equation? So the soul mate equation is um it's our first single mom. Her name is jess, she has a seven year old daughter who is one of our favorite characters we've ever written. We don't write books with a lot of kids, but um this is our first time really writing a child into the book and she is so much fun. But the premise is that Jesse's single and sort of determined to remain single until her daughter is grown. And her best friend Fizzy, who is a romance author, hears about this um new dating service that is based on DNA matching technology. And um Jess has no interest in this at all. Fizzy is really jazz to learn about it from sort of a romance craft perspective. And so she drags jess along to this um company that's about to go public and kind of convinces just to spit into a vial and see if she matches with anyone. And it turns out that she ends up with an unprecedented score where she matches with the founder of the company, who she already knows and does not like. So, you know, we were really Christine and I both got very obsessed with the Theranos scandal, about the you know the blood um testing technology and just kind of how biotech is this sort of there's this like curtain that hides all these details and um but there's also so much excitement there and things move so fast and there's so much money in biotech and so we were really trying to think about like what are some fun ways where we could bring biotech into rom com. It was just a very weird evolution of an idea, but this is where we landed and you know, I had a really good time because I do have a science background and my husband is a biochemist. And so we got to be really dorky about how okay if we were really going to create this company that could find somebody's soul mate through D. N. A. What other criteria would we want to see before we would invest in this company? And for me a lot of it would be. Do they do like testing of people who've been married for a really long time and are very happy together? Do they look at like people who are attracted and if there are certain DNA signatures that come up in attraction? Right. And um it was just a lot of fun to kind of figure out how that might actually work. Oh I love the concept. What a cool idea. All right, so let's use this as a jumping off point for talking about exactly how you to collaborate. Because in this podcast today we're talking about you know, writing his pairs and how exactly you do it. Can you talk to us a little bit about how you write a book like this together kind of from coming up with the original concept, which you told us a little bit about where that came from, but to writing the chapters to kind of figuring out how the book is going to go, and then ultimately to kind of making it all come together Christina. Do you want to start us off? Yes. So, um obviously the pandemic, this should be a well oiled machine right now. We have 27 or whatever books, you know, we should know exactly what we're doing. But the pandemic has sort of thrown a wrench into that, because normally we outline our books in person, always in person, it's just, you know, it's different sitting across the table from someone than sitting across the zoom camera from them. So, um we always outline our books in person and then um and that takes a couple of days, it's not just something you can do, you know, in an hour over lunch or whatever, it's like throwing out ideas and watching a movie and then that jog something and they're talking about a book and going out to eat and you know, it just, it takes a couple of days to kind of get a good idea of what we're doing. Um once we have that we go back to our house is I am in Utah's lois in California. We divide things up by chapter, scene or character. However we do it, we start writing, um we upload them to dropbox or however it is, we're going to do it and at some point we start compiling.

So with the pandemic, obviously we haven't been able to see each other in person. Um so we've had to kind of change that process a little bit, but since we change it every single time we have a book anyway, it's sort of, you know, we were able to make it work. Um We're getting ready to outline a new book this week. I'm going to low. Um And uh yeah, it's just, it's different every time I think if we've learned anything as you have to be flexible because what worked for one book does not work for the next book and we've done so many in. Yeah, it's not a well oiled machine. No, it's just it's a machine that keeps evolving, which is good. Right? That's a good thing. You're evolving and growing and just keep getting better and better. It's amazing. Um So are there parts of the process that are more challenging for you than others? Are there parts that go very easily? Are there parts you kind of get stuck in or stumble at or anything like that? Lawrence? I mean, I think it's funny because we do, it's true that we're not a well oiled machine in the sense that we change the outlining process every time, but the drafting process is almost always the same and By that, I mean cristina always freaks out a lot at the beginning, like she just has a few days or a couple weeks of like what am I doing, who are these people? I don't actually think I was ever meant to write books and then she gets into the flow of it and we hit about the 2/3 when I decide everything is garbage and nobody is ever going to read this book and that has happened so many times in our relationship that when I actually get to that point it comes Christina down because it's like, okay, now we're doing what we're supposed to be doing, this is how it goes for us. So I would say if anything drafting and I think most writers would say drafting is hard because it's really hard to create something out of nothing and you can't fix something that you don't make right, so once we have a book, even if it's messy, revising is so much more satisfying because you're sculpting at that point. So I would say drafting is the hardest part, but I still really enjoy every part of the process, I really, really do, I'm also slower than low is, so that can be a problem sometimes, but luckily we have more time than we usually do, and low is a great schedule, er so you know, I might be slower, but she has like we do this this time, this, do that, and you know, you just get it done. You know, it's interesting to hear you talk about those kind of freak outs you hit at the exact same points in each book because at least you hit them together, you know, like you know, it's coming from the other person and you can talk the other person down. Whereas I as a writer also just hit them alone secret, like secretly freak out myself and completely panic and spiral out for a little while, so at least you can bring each other back. And I mean I do think any conversation about co authoring would be remiss if we didn't talk about that sort of communal aspect of it. I mean sometimes we'll go to signings and they'll be you know, of course there's authors that are sitting alone at their table if we go to the big romance signings or even if we're doing a signing with like, another author of the book store, and both of us are always like, how do you do that? Because it's just not how we've come up in in writing, Right? Um, and I mean, certainly there are challenges to co authoring that that you as a person who writes alone wouldn't have. But I also think one of the benefits is that we always have somebody who's at exactly the same place emotionally with it as the other person. Or if they're not, if Christine is not in the exact same place I am, she understands where I am and she can get there too. And so, um, you know, writing is a very solitary endeavor. I think it can be very isolating. And so, I am very lucky to have her with me. I'm very lucky how wonderful to get to do that together. So, I understand that you're both working together to adapt. Roomies your 2017 novel into a screenplay, which is so exciting. Can you tell us a little...

...bit about that film deal and how you figured out how to write a screenplay together? Well, we did not know what we were doing in trial in their way. All the best stories start. The difference, I mean, the difference between really writing a script and writing a book, is that any script, every single word matters. Um every like a page of script is like a, like a page or a minute on screen. So you have to like, like, I don't even remember what we were supposed to get it down to low, like 109 patrons. Nine. Yeah, it's like really good. And I think like our very first draft was like 128 pages. Uh so you really do learn what matters and what doesn't and where you're kind of like being redundant. Every you know every piece of dialogue should should do like two things. It should push the story forward and maybe tell you a little bit about the person. And and so um right now we're working with oops doughnuts. Um Anti Fichman is our director and Village Roadshow. Pictures is has come on to be um of producing partner and we've done several rounds of revisions because we had our initial producers and then Village Roadshow and they're getting ready to start casting. That's so exciting. It is yeah. Was the process of I know you talked about how writing a screenplay is different than writing a book but how about writing a screenplay together? Was the give and take. That U. two did together different than the give and take you have when you're writing a book? Yeah. So when we write a book we usually outline all of the chapters and then we try and do alternating. So whether it's dual point of view where we each take one character or or it's a single point of view but we take every other chapter. That's how we draft our books right? And so then we kind of zipper them together and edit it as one whole and then read it again and again again. But with a screenplay you can't really break it up into chapters in the same way and we could probably break it up into acts. But I think a lot of what you do when you're drafting a screenplay is about pacing. So um what we have done with the screen places we take turns drafting it. So one of us will draft a section and then the other will take over and keep drafting. Or I I don't even, I'm trying to think because we've written a few at this point um if one of us has ever drafted the whole thing, I don't think so, I think we'll draft like maybe 20 pages and then trade off, so it's like a back and forth thing, but it works still, I don't know. Yeah, that's amazing. Of course it worked. You guys just have one amazing genius brain together. That's awesome. So since you've been collaborating for so long now, I imagine that some things have gotten easier as you've gone along as you've gotten to, you know, understand the rhythm of the work, of the rhythm of each other, all of that. But has there been anything that's gotten harder or more challenging about your collaboration as the years have gone by? especially as your kids have gotten older life has taken different twists and turns, you've got more and more successful. Have there been more challenges in your path as the years have gone by? Oh my gosh, I mean, I don't, I think in terms of the collaboration, no, I think if anything the collaboration gets easier with every project and for sure, it's like, you know, it's not a steady like improvement in ease over time, there's gonna be some books that are harder to write than others, right? Just and that's like project based, not collaboration based, but I think any author who has more than two or three books out with some success for those early books, finds that like we have that um the pressures change, you know, and you can't stay in one place and do the same thing, um you have to kind of keep evolving and finding new stories to tell in new ways. Um and so I think, you know, that's not necessarily about our co authoring, that's just a thing...

...that any enduring author faces. Um and I mean I think there's been times where one or the other of us is interested in writing something that the other is not really interested in, but because the ego has always been Christina, Lauren and not Christina or Lauren, we decide that we want what's best for that writing name versus like what's best for my entertainment at any given moment, right? So also the way we promote books and things have changed. So yeah, true. I mean there was no instagram when we first started and um one thing that helps is that we both have strengths um like low is such, she's so good on instagram story, like she just is so, it's just so good. And so, so much has changed, literally. Nothing looks the same as it did when we published our first book. Yeah, that absolutely makes sense. Yeah, I've been around for a while too and you're completely right. The whole landscape has changed absolutely. Now. They're trying to get us on Tiktok kristen, what are we gonna do? Alright, I'm too old for that. What was funny is that our, our like pr chris who is also a christian with and I was like, no, I don't want you on Tiktok, but I just want your just like to see your books, but I want to see you. Thanks for the clarity, christian Dreyer. I love it. All right. Ladies last question, if you could come back to that very first day, you decided to try to write a book together and give your younger selves advice about what was to come, what would that advice be? Oh wow. Um, I think we did everything the way I would want to, I think I would just tell us to trust that we're not doing it for nothing, you know, because there were times in the process that we're really hard, especially in the early days when, because, you know, we wrote, We started writing in the fall of 2009, we didn't sign with holly, we have the same agent, we didn't sign with holly until October 2011. So it was two years of writing and querying and um, you know, in that time, you know, I know Christina's husband switched jobs and she had a, you know, she worked the school year, so she had three months where she wasn't getting paid and those things kind of coincided and it was really stressful and there were times for each of us where we thought we might not be able to afford to put so much time and money into flying to see each other to work on this book that like didn't even have an agent. Um, and so I think, you know, just reassuring those like past C and low that like you're, you're going to be okay. You know, I think that reassurance would have meant a lot, but honestly, like, I love that we had the path we did. It was crazy at the beginning. I mean when we first met you was at a party or yeah, it was artie in Dallas year, I think 2014. It was like a nutso time for all of us. It was crazy. And I feel like I remember maybe an eighth of that entire year, I still wouldn't change it, you know? So I think I would tell, I would say um to like trust each other that you know, we say that we are married and we basically are and to, to tell us that there are hills and valleys and to enjoy the hills and work harder in the valleys. That's great advice. It's great advice for all of us. Uh well, wonderful, well thank you so much Christina and Lauren for joining us today and thanks to, to hazel gainer and heather web. Don't forget to pick up Christina. Lawrence brand new, the soulmate equation, which sounds so good. I cannot wait to read it. And hazel's and heather's upcoming three words for goodbye. It's been such a pleasure talking with all of you and to all of you out there. Thanks for joining us...

...today. Keep your ears out for more fascinating friends and fiction interviews coming up and don't forget to tune in Wednesdays at seven p.m. eastern for our facebook live show too. In the meantime, stay safe and well and keep reading. Mhm. Thank you for tuning in, join us every week on facebook or Youtube, Where our live show airs every Wednesday night at seven p.m. eastern time and please subscribe to our podcast and follow us on instagram. We're so glad you're here.

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